WASHINGTONBy a 387-35 vote on May 19, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a two-month extension of current transportation funding, with the Senate expected to take up the stopgap measure as well.
If passed, the bill will authorize payments from the Highway Trust Fund to pay for state and local transportation projects until July 31. The existing bill ends May 31.
House Democrats introduced the Obama administration's six-year, $478 billion transportation bill immediately after the vote on the temporary measure.
As negotiations for Highway Trust Fund reauthorization came down to the wire, many provisions being considered for the legislation could prove harmful to tire dealers, according to the Tire Industry Association (TIA).
The worst of these is Section 4112 of the Obama administration's GROW America Act, which could pave the way for a return to mandatory tire registration, TIA Executive Vice President Roy Littlefield said in TIA's May 18 Weekly Legislative Update.
According to the language of Section 4112 of the GROW America Act, it's reasonable to assume that NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) would require the distributor or dealer to maintain the records and electronically transmit the information to the manufacturer at no cost to the consumer, Mr. Littlefield said. Based on those assumptions, TIA believes that NHTSA intends to reinstate some form of a mandatory tire registration system.
Without Section 4112, TIA probably would support the GROW America Act, he added.
The basic funding mechanism of the six-year, $478 billion transportation package would be a one-time, 14-percent tax on the earnings U.S. corporations have kept overseas. This is similar to the legislation sponsored by Rep. John Delaney, D-Md., which TIA supports, Mr. Littlefield said.
Among other transportation funding proposals that TIA opposesin addition to Section 4112are:
c Reinstating the federal excise tax (FET) on passenger tires;
c Reinstating the FET on tread rubber, which ranged between 5 and 15 cents per pound;
c A 10-percent increase on the truck tire FET;
c A 10-percent increase on the FET for new trucks and truck parts; and
c An increase in the Federal Motor Fuel Tax.